Originally Posted by Maxvla
It would depend where you are in your head-fi journey.
power:cables:dac:amp:headphones is a good route for low-to-mid-fi but will typically flip around to something like this at summit-fi: power:cables:headphones:dac:amp
For me DAC technology is moving too fast to invest significantly into a source so mine will likely be something like this:
.5:1:5:5:5 - power:cables:headphones/dac/amp
150 on power (more than I actually spend..)
300 on cables (also more than I spend, but not so off)
1500 on headphones (done)
1500 on dac (likely soon, currently $750)
1500 on amp (likely soon, currently $1300, chance of this skyrocketing to $2000-2500 though)
You make a good point about how the ratios change as you move up the ladder. I'd like to hear some of the real summit-fi stuff, but at the moment my curiosity and budget are battling each other, and the budget is winning. I've gone from $10 to $100 to $1000 headphones, and I heard the difference. I've done the same with amps and the differences were noticeable but much much smaller. Again the same with dacs, but at that point the differences were tiny and unless I was doing instantaneous A/B I would not be able to tell them apart, and even then I would be very hard pressed to say which was "better".
I'm curious about how you allocated funds for power. Was that just a nice surge protector, or something more specific? In my case, I have a linear regulated power supply that provides dual DC outputs for my Nuforce HDP and Icon speaker amps. This has been a small but noticeable upgrade from their stock wallwart supplies. Many devices handle the AC-DC conversion internally however, so upgrading power components there isn't feasible, which leaves AC regeneration which is stupidly expensive.
Originally Posted by Coq de Combat
How about dividing by zero...
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
On a more serious note, I enjoyed reading that delirious codeine rant. I think you may be on to something, even though it wouldn't have to be formally presented with some mathematic equation of any sort. I think the most interesting part was about diminishing returns, but the thing is that I both agree and disagree to some degrees. Here's the thing, and please do take my opinion with a grain of salt (or two, since I am probably pretty inexperienced compared to a lot of guys here) but IMO there's a law of diminishing returns hitting quite early on when it comes to headphones as well. It's one thing if you're a headphone collector or an enthusiast, spend whatever you think this hobby is worth to you - after all, for a lot of people it is a hobby and what would a hobby be if you didn't experiment back and forth with gear and so on and so forth.
However, for a vast majority of people just looking for a really good sounding headphone as a tool for listening to music rather than following a hobby or starting a collection, I think somewhere around $150-200 is probably the most money I'd suggest anyone spending on headphones. Because, to be quite honest with you, I think that spending more is comparable to spending a lot of money on flavor and exotic spices, when you already have a perfectly good meat with salt and pepper.
/my own rant, thanks for lending me the thread for that
Actually, I think $150-200 is spot on for most people and is what I would recommend for someone starting out who is willing to spend a bit of coin above budget level but not break the bank. I probably spent the majority of my headfi time fiddling around in the mid-fi realm, trading cans every week around the $200 range and that was a ton of fun.
I've definitely heard improvements moving up, but with the associated costs it actually starts to make me more apprehensive. I can enjoy a fine and fancy steak at a ritzy restaurant every once in a while, or I could have a perfectly good bbq at home for much less. Both have their moments. If I had to sell my big gear and settle with something around $200, I'd be ok with that. Of course, I'm also a modder, so I can season my meat however I like it
... wow, that last sentence sounded all sorts of wrong